Over the years, lots of innovation has occurred in the name of improving driver safety. Nationwide programs have sought to eliminate distracted driving habits, roads are constantly maintained maximum safety, and cars are increasingly designed to better withstand accidents. Yet, the numbers associated with motor vehicle accidents remain staggering. According to a report from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration1, an estimated 32,675 people died in motor vehicle accidents in the U.S. in 2014—down only 1 percent from 2013.
Perhaps numbers like this one have inspired the launch of a number of innovative new products and services in recent years. Some of the newer ways of protecting drivers are attempting to do so by fixing very specific problems. Specifically, we’ve seen exciting new initiatives and products aimed at three areas: protecting drivers operating shipping projects, supplying average commuters with emergency tools, and training young drivers to practice safe habits.
Protecting Drivers In Shipping
Commercial fleets conducting shipping business account for a huge number of vehicles, and it’s in the best interest of the companies involved to protect drivers. Furthermore, drivers in this business can sometimes operate with relatively high risk. They drive long hours, which leads to tired driving and distractions as drivers attempt to stay busy and entertained; they sometimes travel unfamiliar territory; and the physical aspect of operating a large fleet vehicle can be challenging.
It’s actually GPS tracking associated with the ever-expanding “Internet Of Things” that’s beginning to change conditions for these types of drivers. According to Verizon’s Networkfleet Program2, GPS-based vehicle tracking can enable companies to track, monitor, and manage their vehicle fleets. Fleet management headquarters can now see where each individual vehicle is and even monitor the conditions of those vehicles. This enables them to manage driver hours, keep vehicles safe, and even map out the most efficient routes. These perks may appear to exist primarily for the sake of operational efficiency, but that same efficiency makes drivers less likely to adopt unsafe habits in an attempt to overcome poor conditions. A driver on a strictly monitored system is less likely to speed, cut corners, try unfamiliar routes, or stay active for dangerous hours. For that matter, resqme, Inc.’s alertme™ tool can also be very helpful for fleet drivers who do still have to work long hours, or for anyone driving with a risk of growing tired. The tool fits over your ear like a bluetooth and alerts you if you start to nod off!
Supplying Commuters With Safety Tools
Most people know general safe driving techniques, whether or not they choose to follow them. There will always be struggle to get more drivers acting safely on the road. But among 30,000+ deaths that occur annually due to accidents, a number of them also occur due to unsafe circumstances that may not have to do specifically with a driver’s actions. Consider, for example, an incident reported last month in which a driver’s Ford Fiesta gradually caught fire for no apparent reason. The driver and his family saved themselves thanks to a persistent smokey smell that led to their exiting the vehicle. However, in some instances, similar issues can prove fatal due to car issues resulting in automatically locked doors and windows.
The driver in this instance recommended to anyone reading the story to keep a hammer in the car at all times (so as to break a window if escaping the vehicle is an issue). But this is also where some of our own resqme® products can help. The resqme® Original Keychain in particular can be a life saver in situations that would otherwise result in more accident-related deaths, as it helps with escape from seat belts and sealed cars.
Instilling Safe Habits In Young Drivers
We’ve also seen various companies taking steps to help with the education process as it applies to young drivers. Every young driver goes through a period of instruction in order to receive a license, and the hope is that the lessons learned during this stage will last. But unfortunately, young drivers are among the worst offenders when it comes to distracted driving in particular, and in turn are responsible for a significant portion of motor vehicle accidents.
Perhaps the most interesting company combatting this trend is SmartWheel USA, which has invented a product designed to teach and enforce safe driving habits. Specifically, they’ve invented a sort of steering wheel cover that alerts drivers to unsafe behavior (such as taking hands off the wheel). The wheels also track driving habits so that young drivers can gain a more thorough understanding of whether or not they’re being appropriately safe.
Hopefully with all of these tools in place for various types of drivers, the next few years will see the horrific numbers of accident-related deaths finally begin to decline significantly!
Cory Bowman is freelance writer and web designer based out of Virginia. His work primarily concerns themes in technology, travel, and lifestyle.
1National Highway Traffic Safety Administration
2Verizon’s Networkfleet program
3an incident reported last month
4our own resqme® products